News from 2010

Santa parades in the Canterbury sun

The first weekend of December was a busy one for the band as they squeezed in two concerts and two santa parades. The weekend began on the Saturday in Kaiapoi where the band performed a pre-parade set on the sloping platform of the earthquake damaged Kaiapoi railway station. This perhaps takes the cake as the most interesting stage the band has performed on. This performance was followed by the Kaiapoi Santa Parade which the band marched in.

The band continued their musical endeavours the following morning, forming up a small band to make an appearance at the NZCare client Christmas Party. We provided background Christmas and light entertainment music to the large crowd gathered. This was a fun day and the band was well received. We thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it (not to mention the halftime ice creams!).

Following on from this, the band reconvened for the Smiths City Santa Parade. This is something the band participates in every year, and it is great to be part of the excitement that surrounds this event. The sweltering mid afternoon heat pushed the band hard as we made our way down Colombo Street to the tune of Snoopy’s Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock and Appreciation. Those carrying heavy instruments had their work cut out for them as this half hour march is certainly no stroll in the park. It was good to spot our supporters in the hundred-or-so- thousand strong crowd. One in particular, Grant Dempsey, flugel player from Addington Brass demonstrated true bandsmanship by stepping up to share the load of the bass drum. He wasn’t half bad either.

Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass is proud to be the only brass band that marches in the Smiths City Santa Parade. We shall be back for it again next year, so if you missed out this time be sure to keep an eye out for us leading the parade again in 2011.


Brett Baker with Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass: November 2010

Our recent concert with Brett Baker was a definitive highpoint for the band this year. Brett is a world class trombone player. He holds the top trombone seat in the Black Dyke Band. He uses his instrument to reach notes so high only a cornet ought to be able to produce them, and moves his slide so fast you would think you were listening to a baritone. Brett is an exceptional performer, who does not disappoint.

To play with a musician of this calibre is a fantastic opportunity for any brass band. It is extremely rewarding for the players to perform alongside musicians at the top of their field, and also allows the band to present their audience with something particularly special. Without a doubt, those friends of the band who attended would agree that this was a truly memorable concert.

The band was delighted to be included as part of Brett’s current tour of New Zealand. Having played with him when he was in Christchurch in 2006, this concert allowed the band to revisit what was then a very successful concert. The band must be at the top of their game to accompany such a soloist, and indeed one audience member recounted that she had not before heard the band perform so well. Brett himself thanked the band for their high level of preparedness.

While Brett’s solo items were the focus of the concert, the band also performed a number of salient pieces. A number of these were new to the Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass repertoire. This includes the Spanish infused Malaguena and the demanding finale to the concert, Finale from Faust.

This was a great concert, thoroughly enjoyed by the band and audience, and we look forward to bringing you similar events in the future.


New Zealand Brass Band Championships: July 2010

The 2010 New Zealand Brass Band Championships were held in Dunedin. This is an annual event which brings brass bands from all over New Zealand together to compete as individuals, small ensembles and full brass bands. The band competition consists of three sections: a sacred item, test selection, and own choice. The bands also compete in the Parade of Bands, which is a separate event.

Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass is an A grade band, which is the first division of brass bands. The test piece selected for the A grade was The Torchbearers by Peter Graham, while the band chose to perform In Perfect Peace by Kenneth Downie as their sacred item, and Lowry Sketchbook by Philip Wilby as their own choice. Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass put in a strong, consistent effort in all three sections, to finish around the middle of the field overall. The band enjoyed positive feedback on their performances, which included adjudicator Barrie Gott describing Lowry Sketchbooks as an exciting performance. This was the first national contest attended by the band under the conductorship of Tyme Marsters, and these results bode well for the future.

Unfortunately, due to bad weather the Parade of Bands was cancelled. However Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass, who have often excelled in this event, look forward to their next opportunity to march under their new drum major, Mike Chesnutt.

Special note must be made of our bands people who started in solo events. Bob Grimwood competed in the Masters event, Courtney Milne in the Junior Bass, Steve Griffin in the Open Euphonium, Jessica Hix in the Open Percussion, Kevin McMorran in the Championship Cornet, and conductor Tyme Marsters competed in both the Open Flugel Horn and the Invitation Slow Melody. We would also like to congratulate Dale Hounsome-Vail on his performance which won the Junior Trombone competition, enabling him to compete in the Junior Champion of Champions. Although registered under another band for this contest, Dale is a regular face in the Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass Trombone section.

ANZAC Day Citizens’ Service

Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass takes great pleasure from their involvement in the ANZAC day Citizens’ Service. The band participates every year in the service which is held in the ChristChurch Cathedral.
This year the band and Cathedral organist were joined by the Cathedral Choir in providing the musical aspects of the service. The band, choir and organ came together to perform God Save the Queen, God Defend New Zealand, and a number of hymns. Despite differences in musical backgrounds, the groups blended together effortlessly to deliver strong performances.
Canterbury Brass began the day with a series of pre-service music consisting of the traditional number Ye Banks and Braes, Shepherds Song, and the title music from the television series Band of Brothers.  This set culminated with the meditative Elegy, played as the official party entered the Cathedral. The band later performed a sacred item entitled The Old Rugged Cross.
Principal cornet, Kevin McMorran took the stage alone for the Last Post and Rouse. His performance caught the mood of the day flawlessly.
The band concluded the service with a march entitled Colonel Bogey. This number was familiar to many of those gathered, and provided a heartening backdrop for the official party’s recessional march.


Garden City SummerTimes – Sunday Bandstand

On Sunday 7 March 2010, Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass featured in the Sunday Bandstand as part of the Christchurch City Council SummerTimes programme. The annual Bandstand series showcases brass and pipe bands from the Christchurch area, providing free entertainment in a number of idyllic musical settings. Canterbury Brass performed in the Bandsmen’s Memorial Rotunda in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to a large audience of picnickers, Sunday strollers, and music enthusiasts.

The band, under the leadership of guest conductor David Fiu, offered a varied and lively repertoire for the hour-long concert. Audiences’ enjoyed music from a variety of genres, including jazz, opera, Latin and Elvis. The band also paid tribute to the more historical brass band musical style, as well as the tradition of the band rotunda in which they performed, with an energetic performance of the well known brass band march, Bramwyn.

Not forgetting their audiences’ favourites, principal trombonist-come-vocalist Brain Eckersley sang the anthem best associated with the Liverpool Football Club, You’ll Never Walk Alone. Principal euphonium Steve Griffin also delighted audiences with his solo performance of the famous opera aria Nessun Dorma; while principal cornet Kevin McMorran performed the ever-sweet Pastorale.

Crossway Community Church Concert
The band played a Christmas Concert at the Crossways Community Church on the 29th December.This concert featured some very talented soloists from the band with Kevin McMorran playing Aye Waukin' O!, Steve Griffin playing an arrangement of Slaviche Fantasia , and Jess Hix on the marimba entertaining the audience with an exciting Goff Richards number called Zimba Zamba. The full and enthusiastic audience was very appreciative of the performance of the Band with requests to perform further Christmas Concerts next year. This was the first concert under our new musical director Tyme Marsters which has provided us with a great springboard to start off in a new direction.

Woolston Club
Sunday the 13th December saw the band put on the annual Christmas Concert at the Woolston Club. We played to a full house with many joining in with the Christmas Carols led by compere and vocalist Brian Eckersley. Brian went on to entertain the crowd with Butch Green's arrangement of "Mack the Knife" before bringing the house down with "You'll never walk alone".

Santa Parade
On December 6th the Band led the annual Santa Parade marching in front of over 100,000 people. The excitement and enthusiasim from the crowd was felt throughout the band and we are proud to still be the only Christchurch Brass Band who march in this parade. Led by our Drum Major (and Musical Director) Tyme Marsters the band stepped off to a lively march called Appreciation. The crowd showed their enjoyment the entire way and were equally impressed by the excellent percussion breaks between Snoopy's Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock.

The band has had further funding success with a grant from the Lion Foundation for another new timpani. A grant from Youthtown Inc will enable our percussion section to be given new personalised mallets and sticks to use.

Looking ahead
After some tough times over the last few years the Band is experiencing a period of rejuvenation with many new members joining and some old hands returning. Goals for next year include attending the National contest in Dunedin, the provincial contest in Christchurch, together with the re-establishment of a concert series.